Amazon unveils Kindle 2.0
The worst kept secret in literary history has finally been officially confirmed by Amazon: the existence of its Kindle 2.
Amazon's Kindle 2: thinner, smoother, sexier than before
Amazon’s second-generation e-book reader has just been unveiled in New York as a device that measures 8 x 5.3 x 0.36in and which has a 6in, 600 x 800 E-Ink screen on its front. The screen’s able to show off 16 shades of grey – the original could only show four – resulting in crisper on-screen graphics reproduction.
Books can be downloaded over 3G and stored onto the portable gadget’s internal 2GB memory – of which roughly 1.4GB is available to the user. That might not sound like much, but it’s more than seven times the original model's storage space.
3G and 2GB of on-board storage
Even with the wireless turned on, Kindle 2’s battery’s said to last for up to four days – 25 per cent longer than the first-generation model’s could manage. But you can also top it up over USB 2.0. The whole device weighs in at just 289g.
As previously reported, Amazon’s redesigned the Kindle’s keys to make them more ergonomic. So ugly square keys have been replaced by round buttons and page turn keys that flex inwards to prevent accidental page turns.
A five-way controller’s also designed to enable more precise on-screen navigation when, say, selecting text or highlighting words.
Readers can be read to through a text-to-speech function
A text-to-speech function, described as experimental, is also included. It gives bookworms the choice of being read to by a man or woman and the voice speed can be adjusted, which is handy for speed... er... listeners.
The Kindle 2 will be available in the US on 24 February for $359 (£240/€276). Plans for a European launch haven’t been confirmed yet. ®
@andy -- Oh ye of little imagination
Andy, Andy, Andy... You sadden me.
If I want to read books, I'll buy them on paperback. If I want to read e-books, I'll download them from Gutenberg or some other free site, convert them to RTF, format them a little, and stick them on my old Sony reader. Books, alone, are no reason to buy a Kindle.
But this device has POTENTIAL! And when a developer's kit for e-ink technology costs $1500.00 (not counting the rest of the kit and work required to build a functional device), being able to get a complete, functional device for $400 that already has a built-in development platform (if somewhat hidden from view) is pretty cool!
This is a wonderful world we live in, where every comp.sci student grew up watching MacGyver, and every device will be extended to do things it wasn't meant to do. Everyone's an inventor these days, don't you know.
I am SO getting one of these...
P.S. You sound kind of curmudgeonly. Are "those damn kids" still on your lawn?
Err I thought this was a book reader?
Why are people talking about web browsing, applications and other things that have nothing to do with reading books?
Yes it has a dumbed down browser, so you can purchase ebooks.
The keyboard is for the browser, as well as bookmarks with notes probably.
It doesn't need Flash, OS X, Windows Vista or World of Warcraft.
However the people complaining about DRM and not conforming to a standard publishers are moving to are bang on the money. The Microsoft music site debacle is evidence enough that DRM is for suckers.
No form of magnetic media (which includes CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, Hard Disks and Flash Memory) can retain its data for as long as a book can last with reasonable care. Even books produced in the days of acidic paper have longer lifespans than 99% of media.
Which means that eventually you will be forced to move it to a new device or pay for it again. As DRM, media and devices will undoubtedly change over the years at a fast pace, the chances of only paying once for a copy of a book seem small.
Meanwhile the guy that bought the paperback for $5-7 and didn't break the spine will be able to re-read his book until his eyes fail him.
@Thomas -- True, BUT...
If you know about the page flipping issue, you'd design your app to work mostly in the background, only updating the display when something interesting happens. For example, you could do some kind of mashup with Google maps that shows you types of businesses YOU find interesting, instead of the plain old "restaurants near you" thing Kindle currently offers.
You could write an app that lets you maintain a rating list for places you've visited, for instance.
You could write a P2P app that checks in with a server and maintains communication with your friends, letting you play with the flash mob concept.
You could store all your technical notes in some Kindle-friendly format, and write a search tool for your own stuff, targeted at your job so you can whip through some drop-down boxes and find information you're interested in.
There are all KINDS of crazy things you could do with one of these. IF, that is, the thing is programmable enough.
But now I'm thinking.. Apparently all the native apps on Kindle run on Java! So if you got a console, you could probably invoke the runtime and run your own full-blown apps, with them being rendered with Kindle's built-in widgets. IF, that is, you can get the widget libraries, which are probably in the downloadable source code...
I'm telling you, this thing might be really really neat.
It's a conundrum.
Paper books defeat piracy. Stick with them.
It is intreging that a multi-billion pound company can make such a basic mistake: either it takes off, and the format will be hacked by pirates, thus undermining revenue for the industry, or it fails, and they have wasted money.
Paper books defeat piracy. Stick with them.
@Better than LCD, but not better than paper...
A solution to a problem that doesn't exist? So you have magic books the thickness of a pencil that have 1500 books inside them, complete with search functions and inbuilt dictionary - oh and you can buy new books over a wireless connection from your magic paper book? Ah.. thought not.
For a great many people this is a great solution to a problem which does exist - I currently have to carry a ridiculous number of books as part my job. Regardless of that, I love reading and this device makes reading ridiculously easy and accessible, anywhere any time.
I'm buying one of these the minute there is a UK launch.